Railroad Transforms Train Management with Mobile Devices
Mobile application improves efficiency and accuracy
One of the nation’s largest railroad systems wanted to leverage mobile technology in the field for its conductors to assemble trains and manage pickups and drop-offs along the route. The advantages of using digital tools in the process include:
- Higher efficiency
- Increased accuracy
- Better real-time reporting
- Improved data quality
Not only did the company’s internal IT team not have the capacity to procure, configure, and distribute the thousands of devices required, but there were unique technical challenges to overcome. Because of federal regulations, train crews are not allowed to send or receive phone calls or text messages. That meant the devices had to be locked down for data only.
The railroad was looking for a partner to procure, configure, and send iPhone 11s to conductors systemwide. In addition to mobile device management applications, the installation of a proprietary train management application was needed. All the devices had to be tested to make sure they’d be out-of-the-box ready and that they were locked down to prevent phone calls and text messages. Stratix was chosen because of its unique ability to scale and its expertise with mobile device deployment.
Before starting the configuration process at our Atlanta Mobile Configuration Center, the Stratix team did extensive testing. We were able to make changes to our ProCheck automated configuration tool to test each device to ensure it couldn’t make outbound calls or accept calls. Similar tests for texting were added to the configuration process. Our testing also revealed issues with the railroad’s mobile device management platform and its train management application, which were resolved before they could cause any post-deployment problems. In all, we procured, configured, tested, and delivered more than 8,000 iPhones for the program.
Partnering with Stratix on the mobile technology for the train conductors program took the pressure off the railroad’s internal IT team, which didn’t have the capacity to take on a project of this scale. With our resources, Stratix was able to cut the deployment time from an estimated 12 months to six.
Now that they’re in the field, the iPhones with the train management app are dramatically improving the accuracy and efficiency of the train-building process systemwide. It’s also led to enhanced real-time reporting and data quality.